Friday, 17 February 2012

It's Carnival! Nardini Cocktails at PalazzinaG

Cat Bauer sipping a Nardini Mandorla Sour at PalazzinaG
Photo: Marina Breeze
(Venice, Italy) I finally have a cocktail! It's called a Mandorla Sour, and it's made with Nardini Mandorla grappa. It tastes like almonds and cherries, two of my favorite flavors. It is divine. 

Meredith O'Shaughnessy
of Meredith Bespoke
Normally, I don't drink hard alcohol because it goes straight to my head, although I can consume plenty of red wine without a problem:) So when Meredith O'Shaughnessy of Meredith Bespoke, the luxury events organizer, offered me a cocktail at the PalazzinaG carnival party last Friday night, I initially refused and asked for red wine. The next night, I was more daring, and decided to try the Nardini Mandorla Sour cocktail, mostly because it was made with grappa, and grappa comes from grapes -- plus it had other ingredients; I am such a wimp that I have a hard time even drinking grappa straight. I took a sip, and proclaimed, "It's fantastic! I love it! I am going to sincerely write about it because I sincerely love it!" In fact, I ended up having two.

Grappa is an everyday drink here in Italy, but many people in other parts of the world have never experienced it. From Wikipedia:

Grappa is made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems (i.e., the pomace) left over from winemaking after pressing the grapes. It was originally made to prevent waste by using these leftovers. A similar drink, known as acquavite d'uva, is made by distilling whole must.
Grappa is now a protected name in the European Union. To be called grappa, the following criteria must be met:
  • (1) Produced in Italy, or in the Italian part of Switzerland, or in San Marino
  • (2) Produced from pomace
  • (3) Fermentation and distillation must occur on the pomace—no added water
So, you can see that the production of grappa and acquavite is strictly controlled here in Italy. Add the name Nardini to that, and you get one of the finest beverages you can drink. (Nardini is a distiller who does not use stems in their pomace.)

Bortolo Nardini founded Acquavite Nardini back in 1779 in Bassano del Grappa, where grappa itself was invented. He bought an inn at the entrance of the famous Ponte Vecchio, the covered wooden bridge on the River Brenta, which was designed by the renowned architect Andrea Palladio in 1569. From the Nardini website:

Nardini is also a member of Les Hénokiens, an international group of family-owned companies that are at least 200 years old. Here is an excerpt from a December 16, 2004 article in The Economist entitled The World's Oldest Companies - The Business of Survival - What is the Secret of Corporate Longevity:

Antonio Nardini
Photo: Marina Breeze
ACCORDING to the book of Genesis, Enoch (or Henok), son of Cain and father of Methuselah, walked the Earth for 365 years and then ascended to heaven without dying. Inspired by this feat, a club was formed in France in 1981 that took his name. Les Hénokiens is a fraternity of companies that are at least 200 years old, have stayed in the control of one family throughout, are financially healthy, “modern” and are still run by a family member.
Each year representatives of the 33 member companies, from seven countries, gather for three days of fun and discussion. This year's host was Ditta Bortolo Nardini, an Italian grappa distillery founded in 1779
To me, it was fitting that I should discover a cocktail made by Nardini, Italy's oldest distillery, during Carnevale, one of Venice's most ancient celebrations, at PalazzinaG, a hotel that transports the magic of past centuries into a contemporary setting. Here are some more photos:

Nardini Mandorla Sours are Poured
Photo: Marina Breeze

Angeline & Brad - NOT!
Photo: Cat Bauer

Dancers in Masquerade
Photo: Marina Breeze

Group at PalazzinaG Bar
Photo: Marina Breeze

Sharla Ault - Nardini rep
Photo: Marina Breeze

Cat Bauer wears mask by La Bottega dei Mascareri
Photo: Marina Breeze
Jewellery by Ganesha - Gems of Venice
Go to Acquavite Nardini: and I Love Grappa blog
Go to PalazzinaG:

Ciao from Venice,

1 comment:

  1. I finally have a cocktail! It's called a Mandorla Sour, and it's made with Nardini Mandorla grappa. It tastes like almonds and cherries, two of my favorite flavors. It is divine.